News Updates

September 26, 1984 4 min read

The naacp has withdrawn a motion to reintroduce 19 suburban school districts to a Cincinnati school-desegregation case.

The move effectively ends an eight-year legal effort on the part of the naacp to include the suburban districts in Bronson v. The Cincinnati Board of Education, a city desegregation suit filed in 1974.

However, said Reginald Govan, special counsel to the naacp, “our ending of this phase of litigation should not be interpreted [to indicate] that the naacp is backing away from its historic commitment to pursuing school desegregation on a countywide basis.” That commitment, said Mr. Govan, will be pursued through “other routes than litigation.”

The case against the city district ended in February with an out-of-court settlement that allows the board of education the flexibility to determine its own means of desegregating its schools. (See Education Week, Feb. 29, 1984.) The suburban districts had been dismissed from the case the previous December by U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice, who said the naacp had failed to prove that the actions of those districts had any effect on school segregation in the city.

However, last month, the naacp petitioned the judge to reconsider the dismissal. Mr. Govan said the naacp’s decision to withdraw that motion stemmed from a concern that “we were pursuing a very narrow legal theory” in attempting to prove the suburban districts contributed to segregation in Cincin

Union and school officials were still working last week to end teacher strikes in at least four states. (See Education Week, Sept. 12, 1984.)

More than 6,000 students were3still on vacation last week as a strike by teachers in St. John the Baptist Parish (La.) Public Schools went into its third week.

Several strikes in Michigan have been settled and teachers are back at work in Atherton, Bronson, East China, Gull Lake, River Rouge, and Saline. Another strike began, however, in Waverly on Sept. 17.

The longest and largest strike so far this fall is in Rockford, Ill., and it continued last week, affecting about 29,000 students. A strike began on Sept. 17 in Shiller Park, but Illinois teachers have gone back to work in the Bremen, Kildeer-Countryside, Sterling, and Urbana school districts.

Strike activity heated up in Pennsylvania last week when teachers went out in Big River Falls, Mohawk, and Springfield Township, but school and union officials reached contract agreements last week in Tulpehocken and York school districts, ending strikes there.

Strike activity also ended in the Exeter-West Greenwich (R.I.) school district and in Mainland, N.J.

The National Institute of Education’s controversial new research center on technology in education recently announced the selection of several “targets of difficulty” that will spur its first research efforts.

According to the Harvard University-based Educational Technology Center, the targets, defined as obstacles to learning that can impede further academic progress, were selected by working groups composed of teachers, researchers, and cognitive psychologists.

Nine initial research projects emerged from the groups’ discussions. Among them are: an examination of computer software designed to alleviate student confusion about the concepts of weight and density; an exploration of computer-based methods to help students learn to solve mathematical word problems; and an investigation of the cognitive consequences of computer-education and programming courses in other curriculum areas.

The technology center is the first of the 17 new laboratories and centers funded by nie. Alleged improprieties in the awarding of the contract for the center resulted in an investigation by the General Accounting Office, which cleared the institute’s director, Manuel Justiz, of any wrongdoing. (See Education Week, Aug. 22, 1984.)

The former coach of the Yonkers (N.Y.) High School football team, Ronald Santavicca, last week filed a $20-million lawsuit against the district’s superintendent and board of education, and the city of Yonkers for “defamation of character and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

According to the suit, the defendants “maliciously, willfully, and with ill will” made false statements about Mr. Santavicca in the wake of the death of Fernando A. Guedes, a football player who died of heart failure during the opening game of his team’s season 11 months ago. (See Education Week, Jan 11, 1984.)

According to Jack Solerwitz, the lawyer representing Mr. Santavicca, the former coach has been “blacklisted” from obtaining new coaching positions at high schools in the Yonkers area ever since he received a letter of reprimand from the district.

Gov. Thomas H. Kean of New Jersey is expected to sign into law a bill approved by the legislature this month to provide $40 million over four years to help school districts remove crumbling asos from their buildings. The bill requires districts to arrange for the state health department to inspect for the material; if it is found, officials may apply to the state for a grant covering up to 75 percent of the encapsulation or removal cost.

The legislature acted in the wake of a state report charging that hundreds of schools were not certified as safe to open on schedule. (See Education Week, Sept. 12, 1984.) After hurried state inspections in recent weeks, all but a handful of schools have opened.

The Governor has conditionally vetoed a bill to require the licensing and regulation of companies engaged in asbestos removal. He recommended involving the state health department in the licensing and urged lawmakers to require that people who do asbestos work undergo a course of training and pass an examination before being issued a state permit.

A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 1984 edition of Education Week as News Updates